Finding the image
There was a period when the internet first became exposure for textile practices where I lost myself in “mixed media”. The only thing that held it together, however weakly, was the fabric. When I discovered natural dyeing and other organic cloth marking methods, my whole approach changed. Initially with these elemental fabrics, I used machine work, then moved to hand embroidery, finding the delicate appearing look was actually strong, unifying. I continue to “find the image” in the unique marks inherent in the process: the chemical mysteries of natural dyeing and ecoprinting create an innate form of “Shizen”, where naturally occurring patterns and rhythms are incorporated into the design, being of nature, but distinct from it because of my translation.
Because certain subjects fascinate me, I am now deliberately creating design on fabrics, some to be used whole, some to be incorporated in other works. Though the base is calculated, these compositions are enhanced intuitively as I pick up needle and thread. Bodies, faces, the micro and macroscopic aspects of our human form inspire me to tell idiosyncratic stories, a word, a phrase, a bit of poetry inspiring the initial idea. I’m stirred too by the natural world, from moons to insect eggs, and often incorporate these motifs into “body” work.
When I learned embroidery, I used only satin stitch and french knots; now I prefer cleaner lines and simple stitches with a few fancies for texture. I let the fabric move as it will (I loathe embroidery hoops) and with those basic stitches used experimentally, can control the depth of manipulation and the resulting texture. Oft-times, the thread color determines an atavistic response to where and how it will be used. I tend to softer shades as they enhance the natural dyes, and prefer variegated threads for tonal changes and depth. I use mostly commercially dyed threads, as there is a dearth of affordable naturally dyed threads in the quantities I need, but have never felt this was a compromise--color is color after all, and i’m not such a purist that i feel like i’m “cheating”.
I love hand embroidery, I mean I really love hand embroidery. I love the way the fabric shifts and takes on its own dimension as the needle moves across it, the way the stitches lie, tight and bunched, or pulling and shifting the background, or loose and lovely in raised effects, the texture under the hand, the way the light reflects on some areas and disappears in others. I find it a constant marvel how a needle, thread and my hand can make things more than what they begin as.
I rarely buy new fabrics, preferring thrift stores and alley scrounging. Scraps and pieces count. Those are my currency, my ancestry, my culture, apportionment, heritage. Grounded in poverty with a desire to own something useful. Something beautiful, something craft and art, stitching transcends the base, the sameness, the norm.
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To purchase her work go to: www.fybrespace.bigcartel.com.